Guyana school fire

Injured children arrive to the airport in Georgetown, Guyana, Monday, May 22, 2023. A nighttime fire raced through a secondary school dormitory in the town of Mahdia early Monday, killing at least 20 students and injuring several others, authorities said. Image Credits (AP Photo/Royston Drake)

GEORGETOWN, Guyana–  In Guyana, a devastating fire broke out in a dormitory during the nighttime, resulting in the tragic loss of at least 20 students.

The incident occurred at a boarding school that serves primarily remote indigenous villages. Several other individuals were also injured in the fire.

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Authorities are currently investigating the incident to determine the cause and provide support to the affected community.

“This is a horrific incident. It’s tragic. It’s painful,” President Irfaan Ali said, adding that his government was mobilizing all resources to care for the children.

A tragic incident occurred in Mahdia, a border town in Guyana, where a fire erupted in a dormitory building of a secondary school.

The fire occurred shortly after midnight in this gold and diamond mining community located approximately 200 miles (320 kilometers) south of Georgetown, the capital.

The government confirmed that the fire claimed the lives of at least 20 students and left several others injured. Six of the injured individuals were transported to Georgetown for medical treatment.

The school primarily caters to indigenous children aged 12 to 18. National Security Adviser Gerald Gouveia stated that it is too early to speculate on the cause of the fire, and the response efforts were further complicated by heavy thunderstorms in the area.

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“It was a battle for us,” he said. “The pilots were very brave, very determined.”

He added that the government and emergency responders “made a gigantic effort” to save as many people as possible.

Ali said officials were contacting parents and mobilizing psychologists to help deal with those affected by the fire.

“I cannot imagine the pain right now of the parents,” he said. “This is a major disaster.”

Local newspaper Stabroek News reported that the fire broke out in a girls’ dormitory.

Opposition lawmaker Natasha Singh-Lewis called for an in-depth investigation.

“We need to understand how this most horrific and deadly incident occurred and take all necessary measures to prevent such a tragedy from happening again in the future,” she said.